Retail liberalization in developing countries: Trends and policies

Liberalization of retail trade is a burning issue in many developing countries. While market penetration by large retail chains has been observed to increase productivity, it also crowds out jobs in traditional stores and intermediary trade, and it triggers modernisation and concentration processes among suppliers in agriculture and manufacturing industry. The project explores trends in retail liberalization in India and other developing countries, assesses developmental impacts and explores policy options.


Project Team:
Tilman Altenburg

Time Frame:
2013 - 2014 / completed

Co-operation Partner:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Project description

Liberalization of retail trade is a burning issue in many developing countries. Traditionally, a large part of the retail market lies in the hands of micro and small sized family businesses. Fragmentation at the retail stage in turn provides opportunities for small scale suppliers upstream in the value chain. While market penetration by large retail chains has been observed to increase productivity, it also crowds out jobs in traditional stores and intermediary trade, and it triggers modernisation and concentration processes among suppliers in agriculture and manufacturing industry. 

The project explores trends in retail liberalization across developing regions, assesses developmental impacts and explores what governments can do to shape structural change in a way that allows for productivity gains while maximising social inclusion. The core of the project is a comparative analysis of three Indian States. In addition, several consultancy reports explore international trends and policy experiences.

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